At the heart of the Diocesan strategy lies “Transforming Communities”, and parishes across the areas are engaged in this work throughout the week from tots groups, food banks, additional support, community cafes, Places of Welcome and much more. Often this is done in partnership and alongside other community partners including voluntary & community groups, other faith groups and statutory partners such as local authorities.
Wellsprings Together, a charity in partnership with the Diocese of Leeds, exists as a free additional resource to support churches to make a difference in their communities. Our team members are specialists in parish-based community engagement and are experienced in helping churches to take the next steps in their social action.
Whether that is enabling you to identify the key needs in your area, running workshops around a vision for your community engagement, helping you develop partnerships with others around you or helping you secure funding for your project, we are here to help provide capacity and expertise for you. We work to your timescales and support your local and regional initiatives to help you see transformed communities where God has placed you.
Parish Community Audits
Wellsprings Together work with your church to provide thorough and objective analysis of the needs of your parish, helping to give you additional insight and a solid basis for focusing your church’s resources on the greatest needs. Using the Local Insight Tool we can prepare a Parish Community Audit which will identify some of the key needs and strengths of your community including areas of deprivation, health and education outcomes, population breakdowns, economic indicators and much more.
This research can be done as a mixture of both the latest quantitative data on the community but also through conducting community interviews to supplement and complement the data. Whilst we recognise the expertise of those members of the church who will have significant lived experience within the parish, our experience is that an external perspective and voice can shed new light on the way forward for your community engagement.
Wellsprings Together is launching a new panel of specialist advisers - called 'Wellsprings Angels' - available to provide this help for defined periods of time when it will have most impact. We are currently recruiting qualified professionals to join this group and offer support for social action projects across the Diocese of Leeds. Wellsprings Angels offer this support free of charge.
Places of Welcome
Following the isolation experienced by us all over the pandemic, churches have a pivotal role to play in connecting individuals and communities back together. Whilst the level of impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing is not fully known, every church can provide a safe place of welcome, hospitality, support and belonging for members of their local community, whether church-goers or not.
Wellsprings Together promotes and coordinates Places of Welcome in the Diocese of Leeds, part of a national network of churches and other community organisations. Each venue opens its doors every week to offer free refreshments in an inclusive, non-judgemental environment, one in which people can relax, share their stories and their concerns and find friendship and blessing.
Places of Welcome provides a great opportunity for volunteering as part of a team, for getting to know new people and for a better understanding of the issues they may be facing.
Interfaith & Near Neighbours
Wellsprings Together work alongside the Diocesan Interfaith Advisor to equip churches for confident, welcoming mission and ministry in a multi-faith world and Christians for showing friendship to people who follow different faiths. Near Neighbours brings people together in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in.
Wellsprings Together work in partnership with the Clewer Initiative to raise awareness and provide support around the various forms of exploitation that exist today in both urban and rural areas.
Caring for creation is an essential part of Christian ministry and mission. Find out more about how we can all be part of Christ’s restoration work for creation on these pages.
Disability & Inclusion
The church community is only complete when all are welcome. The Diocese of Leeds values the inclusion, contribution and ministry of people with disabilities. We aim to support parishes to ensure that our buildings and activities are welcoming and accessible for people with disabilities: sensory or physical impairment, learning disabilities, including autism, mental health needs, and other “hidden” disabilities. See our Disability page for more information.
theo.sheridan-watts [at] wellspringstogether.org.uk (Theo Sheridan-Watts)